Humala’s Peru Cabinet Offers to Quit After Confidence Vote

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala said his cabinet offered to resign after widespread abstentions by opposition lawmakers during a vote of confidence yesterday, in which they accused the first lady of undue influence over the government.

After a presentation in Congress by Cabinet Chief Rene Cornejo, legislators voted 47-0 in favor of the cabinet, with 71 abstentions. A second vote was 42-6, with 73 abstentions.

Speaking from the presidential palace, Humala said the legislature hadn’t been clear and urged them “to express the mandate with clarity and its willingness to give or not give the vote of confidence to the cabinet.”

Humala didn’t indicate whether the cabinet will resign or when Congress might hold another vote.

Cornejo was appointed Feb. 24 to replace Cesar Villanueva who quit after Humala’s wife, Nationalist President Nadine Heredia, contradicted Villanueva over a possible minimum wage increase. Humala also brought in former World Bank and Barclays Plc economists to bolster the cabinet and revive an economy hurt by a slump in copper prices over the past year.

Cornejo, who served as housing minister since Humala took office in July 2011, is a former head of Peru’s private investment promotion agency, Proinversion.

Last night’s ballot serves as a vote of confidence as it met the requirement for at least five opposing votes to become official, said Daniel Abugattas, a congressman with Humala’s Nationalist Party. Congress’ president Fredy Otarola closed the session saying the cabinet had failed to obtain the backing of legislators.

The entire cabinet, Humala’s fifth since taking office in July 2011, would have had to resign immediately had it lost the vote of confidence, according to the constitution.

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